What tyrannical politicians and governments don’t understand about “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof” is difficult to ascertain. The first amendment is clear and multiple courts have determined that governments may not define worship or interfere with the freedom to worship as one chooses in any way.
But that isn’t stopping the Knox County, TN government from deciding what churchgoers can and cannot do during church service and has decided that only “core worship” can be allowed during the coronavirus re-opening phase.
The Knox County government released guidance for phased re-opening that included a section specifically for places of worship. Among the normal and good things — like washing surfaces and practicing hygiene — it goes on to exclude activities the government has not deemed “core worship.”
Only core worship services are permitted in Phase One. Activities such as groups and classes, youth services, social events, potlucks, communal snacks or food, and nursery, are not permitted in Phase One.
But that’s not all. The Knox County government has also deemed the Lord’s Supper and Baptism excluded from Phase One and has deemed them not to be “core worship.”
The physical taking of communion/sacrament should not be performed due to the serial breaking of physical distancing across a congregation. Consider guiding parishioners in how to connect with the spiritual aspects of these practices during this phase.
The government also deemed singing non-essential for worship and recommends against it.
If churches allow the government to define worship on their behalf and submit to this, I feel sorry for those church leaders on Judgment Day.